Saturday, July 23, 2005

What does this guy take us for?
John Kerry is demanding the release of all documents and memos, "in their entirety," from John Roberts' judicial tenure. Isn't Kerry the same guy that refused to have his complete military and scholastic records released during his campaign for president?

Sure, he released them after his failed bid for the White House and the findings were quite humorous. The supposed intellectual candidate actually had a lower GPA than President Bush and don't even get me started on those Purple Hearts.

Anyway, to take my cue from the old Rolaids commercial..."How do you spell hypocrite?"

K-E-R-R-Y.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Young Earth Reminisance
David, I'm surprised, actually, that all your friends are old-earthers. I had a number of classmates who were very strict young-earthers. I remember staring with incredulity at one classmate who insisted that dinosaur fossils were intentionally created by God to test the faithful -- who're you going to trust, your senses or the Bible?

I've also heard that "Well, no one was around, so how do you know" crap, too. To which I respond, "Well, no one saw God create the world, either."
More on the Mega-Conference
Ronald Bailey's accounts of the Creation Mega-Conference are mostly matter-of-fact, whereas The Panda's Thumb is much more critical.
Over at one table a DVD is playing. On the screen is a handsome young man lecturing to a roomful of obviously enthralled students about the nature of geology. With a bemused tone he says that modern geologists insist that various geologic processes unfold over millions of years. “But how do they know that? Was anyone there to see it happen? Has geological science been going on for millions of years?” The video is galling for many reasons: The utter lack of respect for the work geologists do, the patronizing tone of the speaker, and the fact that no one really believes that if you didn't see something happen then you can't speak with confidence about it, immediately come to mind.
My wife and I have seen this DVD, given to us by the homeschooling group in an effort to convince us to participate. I had the same reaction, "Are they really saying you can't know something unless you witness it yourself?" Crazy talk, I say!
[Jerry Falwell] then asserts that all the polls show that 2/3 to 3/4 of Americans agree with AiG on this issue, which is total nonsense. The polls have consistently shown that the percentage of people accepting the Young-Earth position is just under fifty percent.
Wow, even just under 50% is a lot of people. Not what I was expecting. Where I grew up, in small-town central Kansas, I know none of my friends were Young-Earthers. Now, here in SW Missouri I'm sure the number is above 50%. Still, I would have thought the number to be more like 10% to 25% nation-wide. Oh, well.

The account goes on here, and after a bit our correspondent gets a little, er, defensive:
But what really bugged me about the talk was not the extreme shallowness of Kerby's thinking. No, I'm used to that. What bugged me were his incessant imprecations that we be humble before the glories of nature.

Humility? How dare these people talk about humility! You know what scientists do when confronted with nature's complexity? First they spend five years or more in graduate school, living in near-poverty, having no life, studying all the time while being used as cheap labor by the university, just to get a PhD. Then they go out into a job market that presents the very real possibility of unemployment as the reward for all that hard work. If they're lucky they'll land a post-doc, and bounce around the country for a while struggling to find a permanent position. Even if they are lucky enough to land a permanent position they could very well find themselves in some two by nothing town in the middle of nowhere. They spend years trying to get a research program off the ground, scrapping for grant money, and fighting with ornery referees to get their research published.

And why do they do that? They do it because they know that's what it takes if you want to understand nature's complexity just a little bit better. That's what it takes to make the tiniest dent in the sum total of human ignorance.

That's humility.

What isn't humility is having a used car salesman give you a brief description of some complex system, conclude after five seconds' reflection that it could not have evolved, and then decide that only an omnipotent God could be responsible for such a critter. That's not humility, that's supreme arrogance. That's pride and sloth all wrapped up into one.
He's right, but still, take a breather. Take a deep breath and count to 10. All better? [No, I never get fired up in my posts. Why are you laughing?]

Good times, good times.
My kind of Justice?
Jacob Sullum says John Roberts may be okay if what his detractors say about him is true. Check it out.
VDH on terrorism
I'd like to post VDH's entire article here, since every paragraph is significant, but I'll use some restraint.

On how Israel gets the shaft:
From 1967 we witnessed 40 years of bombers, child murdering, airline hijacking, suicide murdering, and gratuitous shooting. We in the West usually cried crocodile tears, and then came up with all sorts of reasons to allow such Middle Eastern killers a pass.

Yasser Arafat, replete with holster and rants at the U.N., had become a “moderate” and was thus free to steal millions of his good-behavior money. If Hamas got European cash, it would become reasonable, ostracize its “military wing,” and cease its lynching and vigilantism.

When some tried to explain that Wars 1-3 (1947, 1956, 1967) had nothing to do with the West Bank, such bothersome details fell on deaf ears.

When it was pointed out that Germans were not blowing up Poles to get back lost parts of East Prussia nor were Tibetans sending suicide bombers into Chinese cities to recover their country, such analogies were caricatured.

When the call for a “Right of Return” was making the rounds, few cared to listen that over a half-million forgotten Jews had been cleansed from Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and lost billions in property.
Let me interject here. I recall a conversation with a colleague a year or so ago where I mentioned this very same thing, and I was treated like I was nuts. No, this fact is not widely known or accepted.

There's more about Israel and terrorism, but I'll leave it to you to read the rest.

But there is this:
Typical after the London bombing is the ubiquitous Muslim spokesman who when asked to condemn terrorism, starts out by deploring such killing, assuring that it has nothing to do with Islam, yet then ending by inserting the infamous “but” — as he closes with references about the West Bank, Israel, and all sorts of mitigating factors. Almost no secular Middle Easterners or religious officials write or state flatly, “Islamic terrorism is murder, pure and simple evil. End of story, no ifs or buts about it.”
Funny he should say this when LGF posted this today:
Senior Muslims have warned the Government that it needed to revise British foreign policy if it wants to put an end to the violence.

Dr Azzam Tamimi, from the Muslim Association of Britain, said the country was in real danger and that this would continue so long as British forces remained in Iraq.

He described the July 7 bombings and the attempted attacks in London on Thursday as “horrifying” BUT said it was not enough to simply unite in condemnation of the bombers.
A point made in the discussion group last night - we'd all feel a lot better about this if more mainstream Muslims vociferously condemned terrorism. The fact that this hasn't been the case is troubling. I fear that people will begin to think of Islam as a whole as an enabler.
Okay, maybe I don't want to be a Republican after all.
Like I was considering in this post, because if that means I have to agree with people like Rick Santorum, well forget it. They're printing excerpts from his book It Takes a Family on NRO, and today's is about gay marriage:
The village elders on the Massachusetts court reasoned that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts could not discriminate against people simply because they were exercising their constitutional rights. They went so far as to say that there is no “rational basis” for treating heterosexual unions differently from same-sex relationships: The only conceivable reason for barring same-sex couples from state-sanctioned marriage had to be “animus” — hatred. That’s right, the Massachusetts court said the only reason you could possibly want to protect the sacred institution at the core of every civilization in history is because you are a bigot. Welcome to village legal scholarship.
Well, yeah, it is bigotry. And it is funny how he spins his bigotry into some noble defense of a "sacred institution". What does he fear?

Gay marriage is not an attack on capital-M Marriage. If you believe it is, it's a sign of your own doubts with the institution. Perhaps you don't take marriage as seriously as you should. Look, if Bob and Jim decide to get married, I'm not going to turn to my wife and say, "Well, I guess it's all a sham, honey. See ya!" That's ridiculous. If you think you would, well...may I recommend a visit to a good marriage counselor?

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: this all boils down to individual rights. The act of two men or two women getting married hurts no one. It does absolutely no harm to you or anyone else. Your rights are not infringed by this act (sure, you may take offense, but there's no right to not be offended). Therefore, it should be allowed.

Pretty simple, really.
Does Britain have the ACLU?
I've been watching the story of the suspect that was shot in the London Underground this morning. According to eyewitnesses, the police tackled the suspect then shot him five times at very close range. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for organizations like the ACLU to start accusing the police of brutality even though there could be several different reasons why they acted in the manner they did. The suspect may have had a weapon or could have been attempting to detonate some type of device. However, unless the London Police come forward with evidence pointing to those possibilities, they're likely to be drawn and quartered.
It's Evolution Day at In Whack
First off, Ronald Bailey completes his series on the Creation Mega-Conference by noting:
With Batten's lecture, my time among the creationists came to an end. Just as the Reverend Jerry Falwell promised, there were no snake-handlers at the Creation Mega-Conference. Instead the conferees were a bunch of decent people trying to make sense of the world and live good lives. The deeply saddening thing is that these decent people have come to believe they have to reject modern science in order to do so.
Indeed, I find their rejection of science unfortunate as well, and is one of the reasons I supported pulling our kids out of a home schooling group that was going to teach this very thing.

Meanwhile, over at TCS, Frederick Turner says evolution is proven. He points out that, naturally, biological studies and journal accept evolution "without question":
By my calculation, then, opponents of evolution must find a way of matching and disproving, experiment by experiment, observation by observation, and calculation by calculation, at least two million pages of closely reasoned scientific text, representing roughly two million man-years of expert research and perhaps trillions of dollars of training, salaries, equipment, and infrastructure.

But the task of the opponent does not end here. For biology is not the only field for which the theory of evolution is an essential foundation. Geology, physical anthropology, agricultural science, environmental science, much of chemistry, some areas of physics (e.g. protein folding) and even disciplines such as climatology and oceanography (which rely on the evolutionary history of the planet in its calculations about the composition of the atmosphere and oceans), are at least partially founded on evolution. Most important of all for our immediate welfare, medicine is almost impossible as a research discipline without evolutionary theory. So perhaps the opponent must also throw in another 4 million pages, four million man-years, and ten trillion dollars -- and be prepared to swallow the billions of human deaths that might follow the abandonment of the foundations of medical, mining, environmental, agricultural, and climatological knowledge.
Well, let me say that I disagree that volume matters. All it takes is one verifiable counter-example to refute evolution. But he's right to say that, should we abandon the science that is built upon evolution, it would cause much suffering.
A theory on property and Kelo
I attended a discussion group meeting last night where we talk about this and that - well, they talk about this and that, I mostly listen. They talked about property rights and the Kelo decision for a time, and someone mentioned that he expected it to go the other way, that he was surprised the Court decided against the home owners. Why would they do such a thing?

And then it occurred to me...if the Court said it the government does not have the power to take personal property from one private entity to turn it over to another, wouldn't that extend beyond real estate? Wouldn't that destroy the welfare state?

Money is property, too. And social security, welfare and all kinds of other stuff are, at base, the taking of property from a group of people and giving it to another group of people for private use. So perhaps Kelo could have brought the whole thing to a halt had it gone the other way.

But perhaps not. Though in principle it's all private property, I'm sure someone would find some legal distinction between real estate and money.

Anyway, just throwing it out there. Any thoughts?
And the weather is nice.
Bart, in reference to your post that mentions San Diego, I am reminded of a bit by stand-up comedian Lewis Black. I've been unable to find a transcript, so excuse me while I paraphrase from memory:
The easiest weatherman job in the country has to be in San Diego.

"Now over to Bob for the weather. Bob?"

"Thanks, Jim. Well, here in San Diego today the weather will be...nice. Tomorrow it will be...nice and looking into the weekend it will be...nice. Back to you, Jim."
Or something like that.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

This one will get your blood-pressure up.
I received a Force Protection Advisory Message (FPAM) from Northern Command (NORTHCOM) yesterday that really gave my stress ball a workout.

NORTHCOM is the joint forces command that covers North America and they are responsible for coordinating all branches of the military as they relate to the defense of that region. That said, they are the major player when it comes to homeland defense. (For you fans of the film "Wargames," NORTHCOM is headquartered with NORAD at the famous Cheyenne Mountain complex on Peterson Air Force Base. It's really cool.)

The FPAM stated that a threat existed regarding the possibility of protestors and picketers at funerals of military personnel killed in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). I could hardly believe my eyes! Have the American people sunk so low as to protest a servicemember's funeral? I continued reading and it all started to make sense. The FPAM went on to say that the threat came from none other than the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas.

Fred Phelps strikes again.

I read the entire FPAM which included background information, tactics used by the threat entity, and procedures personnel should use to avoid or defuse any contacts with the picketers. It was very accurate in its discussion of the baiting tactics Westboro protestors use to get people to attack them, resulting in lawsuits which feed their so-called "ministry."

I decided to check out the information for myself. I just couldn't believe that these people would do this. Sure enough, the website http://www.godhatesamerica.com/ hits you right in the stomach with its foul and utterly repulsive language. The following is only a small sample of their sheer hatred for everything America stands for.

"Thank God for IEDs killing American soldiers in strange lands every day. WBC rejoices every time the Lord God in His vengeance kills or maims an American soldier with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). 'The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked' (Ps. 58:10)."
"To most effectively cause America to know her abominations (Ez. 16:2), WBC will picket the funerals of these Godless, fag army American soldiers when their pieces return home. WBC will also picket their landing spot, in Dover, Delaware early and often."
It literally makes me sick to my stomach and I apologize for having to subject all of you in Bloggerland to its filth. However, I felt it was important to get the word out about these hate-mongering fools. More to come as I investigate the matter further.
"I'm Not Dead!"
Yes, I may have been MIA, but I managed to foil the Grim Reaper's plans for me once again.

Work has been uber-busy of late due to a fresh round of deployments and redeployments. The Army seems to like making the summer our busiest time of year so we can enjoy the 110 degree temperatures in all parts of the country.

I did get to spend another week in San Diego last month. I never thought I would say this, but I would love to live there. Sure, it's the left coast, but the weather in San Diego is absolutely wonderful. Plus, it's a big military town, so the hippies only outnumber the normal people by a margin of two to one, as opposed to the rest of California where the margin skyrockets to five to one.
Yeah, let them rest!
Is it just me, or does the headline imply that they were forced to call dead people?

Marketers May Stop Calling Dead People
A good day for two tech giants.
First there is: Microsoft's 4Q Profits Jump 37 Percent. And yes, the article indicates that is a jump up, not down.

And then there is: Google's 2Q Profits Quadruple. I think this means that Google's profits are quadruple the size of France's GDP.

Good for them.
Terror is in retaliation of the Iraq war?
The Anchoress has a pictorial reminder of order of events. Tip to Michelle Malkin.

The point is, the West didn't start this.
Another attack in London
Thankfully, it looks like it may have been foiled. Explosions reported on London tube:
Up to four explosions hit London's transport system on Thursday, exactly two weeks after more than 50 people were killed in blasts on underground railway trains and a bus.

No one was reported injured in the blasts that caused major disruption and shook the nerves of an already jittery city.

Witnesses said they had seen what could have been a would-be bomber running away after dropping a rucksack on one of the trains.

"We all got off on the platform and the guy just ran and started running up the escalator," one witness who gave her name as Andrea told the BBC.

"Everyone was screaming for someone to stop him. He ran past me ... and he ran out of the station. In fact he left a bag on the train," she said.

A blast blew out the windows of a bus in Hackney in east London, but there were no reported injuries.
How to ask a question
I'm surprised Microsoft would publish an article like this, particularly since it uses terms like "RTFM" and "STFW". There are some helpful tips in it, but I wasn't expecting the bits of humor.

I wonder if "JFGI" (just freakin' Google it) has already been coined.
Silly site of the day.
Stuff On My Cat, which is a collection of photos of, well, stuff on people's cats.

I particularly like the one with the baby and the one with the pizza boxes.

We have two cats at home, but I doubt either one of them would tolerate having any sort of stuff placed on their bodies.

UPDATE: Huh, yesterday it was a public site, but now it prompts for a user name and password. Strange.
Reconciling creationism and science.
(With a tip to All-Seeing Glenn.) Reason magazine sent their science guy, Ronald Bailey, to the Answers in Genesis Mega-Conference. So far Bailey has published two articles about some presentations given that attempt to reconcile strict Creationism (Earth was created in literally six days, is about 6,000 years old, no death or disease before Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree, etc.) with scientific observations and theories. Those pieces are here and here.

Bailey gets to the heart of the matter in his first article:
However, the longer I listened the clearer it became that creationism is not about science. It's about morality. Specifically, creationists worry that biological evolution undermines people's moral beliefs, leading to lawlessness, family breakdown, homosexuality, pornography, and abortion. The real heart of creationism is existential dread.

Philip Bell, former British cancer researcher and now fulltime creationist, in his talk "Ape Men, 'Missing Links' and the Bible," explains, "If Adam is your ancestor then you were created specially and have a purpose in life. If evolution is true, we are descended from ape-like animals with no morality, no aesthetic sensibility and no soul." If evolution were true, Bell tells the conferees, then "you would have no purpose for your existence."

In his welcoming remarks, the Reverend Jerry Falwell similarly declares, "If we don't understand the young earth and how God created it in six 24-hour days, then our values are skewed. If we believe that we evolved from a blob of protoplasm, we have zero values then... If we evolved, then there was no Fall in the Garden and there is no sin and no need for redemption and Christ's death was unnecessary and meaningless."
If I were religious, I would argue that there's obviously still sin regardless of whether the events of the Garden of Eden literally occurred or not, so Christ still has meaning.

Since I'm not, though, I'll say that human life has value and purpose, period.

I take particular note of this since it's because of Answers in Genesis that we have switched home schooling groups. The group my kids attended last year has decided to spend all of this coming year focusing on some kind of curriculum from AiG. No thanks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

There's a lesson in this.
As far as a video game's rating being changed to "Adults Only". Apparently, the game designers had created a rather graphic sexual scene in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for their own amusement but it was supposed to be locked away from everyone else. That is, until someone else figured it out and released a patch that unlocks the scene. Doh!

Lesson: Don't leave that kind of stuff in the game. Well, actually, don't create it in that codebase in the first place.

This reminds me of a story I was told about an engineering company that was having a hard time getting paid by its customer. So the boss made a joke-threat saying he'd have the system programmed to shut down on January 1 if they hadn't paid by then. The programmer overheard this conversation and, sure enough, placed code in the application to do just that as a joke. Well, the poor soon-to-be-fired programmer must have forgotten to take it back out, 'cause guess what happened on January 1?
I hope we can handle the truth.
Reason has 7 questions for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. I particularly like question number 5:
You're on a lifeboat, but it can only hold 8 of the original 10 amendments without sinking, killing your whole family. Which ones go?
Toughie. I can tell you the two that absolutely need to stay: the 9th and the 10th. It may be that the other 8 are implied by these two. Unless, of course, you believe rights are derived from the Constitution, like Rick Santorum and (regrettably) just about everyone else.

Maybe it's a trick question:

"Sir, I would gladly sacrifice myself and my family for the sanctity of the Bill of Rights and not dispose of a single one."

Uh huh.
Oh, the movies I've seen.
From James Newkirk, italicize the ones you've seen and bold the ones you actually liked. Conclusion: I see a lot of movies.

1. Titanic (1997) - $600,779,824
2. Star Wars (1977) - $460,935,665
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - $434,949,459
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) - $431,065,444
5. Spider-Man (2002) - $403,706,375
6. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003) - $377,019,252
7. Passion of the Christ, The (2004) - $370,025,697
8. Jurassic Park (1993) - $356,784,000
9. Shrek 2 (2004) - $356,211,000
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) - $340,478,898
11. Finding Nemo (2003) - $339,714,367
12. Forrest Gump (1994) - $329,691,196
13. Lion King, The (1994) - $328,423,001
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) - $317,557,891
15. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) - $313,837,577
16. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) - $310,675,583
17. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) - $309,125,409
18. Independence Day (1996) - $306,124,059
19. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) - $305,411,224
20. Sixth Sense, The (1999) - $293,501,675
21. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - $290,158,751
22. Home Alone (1990) - $285,761,243
23. Matrix Reloaded, The (2003) - $281,492,479
24. Shrek (2001) - $267,652,016
25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) - $261,970,615
26. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) - $260,031,035
27. Jaws (1975) - $260,000,000
28. Monsters, Inc. (2001) - $255,870,172
29. Batman (1989) - $251,188,924
30. Men in Black (1997) - $250,147,615
31. Toy Story 2 (1999) - $245,823,397
32. Bruce Almighty (2003) - $242,589,580
33. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - $242,374,454
34. Twister (1996) - $241,700,000
35. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) - $241,437,427
36. Ghost Busters (1984) - $238,600,000
37. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - $234,760,500
38. Cast Away (2000) - $233,630,478
39. Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) - $229,074,524
40. Signs (2002) - $227,965,690
41. Rush Hour 2 (2001) - $226,138,454
42. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) - $219,200,000
43. Ghost (1990) - $217,631,306
44. Aladdin (1992) - $217,350,219
45. Saving Private Ryan (1998) - $216,119,491
46. Mission: Impossible II (2000) - $215,397,30
47. X2 (2003) - $214,948,780
48. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) - $213,079,163
49. Back to the Future (1985) - $210,609,762
50. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) - $205,399,422
51. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - $204,843,350
52. Exorcist, The (1973) - $204,565,000
53. Mummy Returns, The (2001) - $202,007,640
54. Armageddon (1998) - $201,573,391
55. Gone with the Wind (1939) - $198,655,278
56. Pearl Harbor (2001) - $198,539,855
57. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) - $197,171,806
58. Toy Story (1995) - $191,800,000
59. Men in Black II (2002) - $190,418,803
60. Gladiator (2000) - $187,670,866
61. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) - $184,925,485
62. Dances with Wolves (1990) - $184,208,848
63. Batman Forever (1995) - $184,031,112
64. Fugitive, The (1993) - $183,875,760
65. Ocean's Eleven (2001) - $183,405,771
66. What Women Want (2000) - $182,805,123
67. Perfect Storm, The (2000) - $182,618,434
68. Liar Liar (1997) - $181,395,380
69. Grease (1978) - $181,360,000
70. Jurassic Park III (2001) - $181,166,115
71. Mission: Impossible (1996) - $180,965,237
72. Planet of the Apes (2001) - $180,011,740
73. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - $179,870,271
74. Pretty Woman (1990) - $178,406,268
75. Tootsie (1982) - $177,200,000
76. Top Gun (1986) - $176,781,728
77. There's Something About Mary (1998) - $176,483,808
78. Ice Age (2002) - $176,387,405
79. Crocodile Dundee (1986) - $174,635,000
80. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) - $173,585,516
81. Elf (2003) - $173,381,405
82. Air Force One (1997) - $172,888,056
83. Rain Man (1988) - $172,825,435
84. Apollo 13 (1995) - $172,071,312
85. Matrix, The (1999) - $171,383,253
86. Beauty and the Beast (1991) - $171,301,428
87. Tarzan (1999) - $171,085,177
88. Beautiful Mind, A (2001) - $170,708,996
89. Chicago (2002) - $170,684,505
90. Three Men and a Baby (1987) - $167,780,960
91. Meet the Parents (2000) - $166,225,040
92. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) - $165,500,000
93. Hannibal (2001) - $165,091,464
94. Catch Me If You Can (2002) - $164,435,221
95. Big Daddy (1999) - $163,479,795
96. Sound of Music, The (1965) - $163,214,286
97. Batman Returns (1992) - $162,831,698
98. Bug's Life, A (1998) - $162,792,677
99. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) - $161,963,000
100. Waterboy, The (1998) - $161,487,252

The Waterboy made the list?
This has to be a joke.
QandO has the goods on this:
The word "fail" should be banned from use in classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralising pupils, a group of teachers has proposed.

Members of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) argue that telling pupils they have failed can put them off learning for life.

A spokesman for the group said it wanted to avoid labelling children. "We recognise that children do not necessarily achieve success first time," he said.

"But I recognise that we can't just strike a word from the dictionary," he said.
"Deferred success". Holy cow.

It could easily carry over into football:

Deferred touchdown = punt
Deferred reception = incomplete pass
Deferred carry = fumble
Deferred gain = tackle for loss
Deferred participation = sent to the bench/ejected from game
Deferred snap = delay of game
Deferred sportsmanship = personal foul
Google is doing more than taking over the world.
They're taking over the moon as well. Cool stuff.

Try zooming in all the way and see what you get.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Status confirmed.
It is a slow news day.
This is silly.
LGF has a CBS memo on the use of the dreaded "T" word:
Rather than calling assailants “terrorists,” we can refer to them as bombers, hijackers, gunmen (if we’re sure no women were in the group [humor!]), militants, extremists, attackers or some other appropriate noun.

[...]

As CBC News editor-in-chief Tony Burman has pointed out: “Our preference is to describe the act or individual, and let the viewer or listener or political representatives make their own judgment.”
Ah, but they'll be more than happy to use labels like "ultra-conservative" whenever they feel like it. Let the viewers make their own judgement, my butt.
Must be a slow news day.
The local talk radio station I listen to carries reports from Fox News every half-hour. They wrapped up the latest session with a report about Jude Law cheating on his girl friend/fiance/wife/whatever with his kids' (or maybe kid's, don't know, don't care) nanny. The reporter even threw in a joke: "Talk about laying down the Law". Ugh.

Can't they save this stuff for People Magazine? Let me make this clear - people tuning in to listen to Rush don't give a rip about stuff like this. Yes, I speak for all of them, thank you. And to hear it from Fox News, of all outfits. Bleh.
A review of the lastest Harry Potter book.
Over at OpinionJournal. My wife and son are reading it together and then I'll consume it.

I'm currently reading The Reality Dysfunction, which is freaked-out. Imagine what it would be like if Stephen King wrote outer-space tales. I'm not sure if I like it - guess it'll depend on how it ends.

UPDATE: Michael Graham says the new Harry Potter book is dull.
Our rights are derived from government.
Or so Senator Rick Santorum believes. Pity.

Monday, July 18, 2005

100 People Who Are Screwing Up America
NRO has an interview conducted by Kathryn Jean Lopez with Bernard Goldberg on his book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America: (and Al Franken Is #37).

First, I think singling out Al Franken in the title is silly.

Second, I saw John Stewart interview Goldberg on The Daily Show, and Stewart kicked his butt. Given, it's not exactly fair, since Stewart will often interject jokes or play to his audience and it looked to me that Goldberg didn't know how to handle that. But in the end, Stewart claimed we should be more worried about what the government is up to instead of these 100 individuals, and Goldberg didn't have a good response to that.

Third, like Lopez suggests, I'd be more interested in The 100 People who Make America a Better Place.
See Unleashed.
What a good movie. I saw it yesterday at the cheap theatre and am regretting not seeing it earlier. It has to be about the most touching action flick I've seen. It is full of some fantastic - often rough - fight scenes. But it's really about music, family and what it means to be human. Can Danny shed his upbringing - having been literally raised like an attack dog - and live as an oridinary person?

Oh, the things a guy will do for a piano!

UPDATE: One of the things they talk about in the karate I do is how many of the moves we learn are appropriate for in-close fighting - "fighting in a phone booth", they call it. Well, there's a great fight scene in Unleashed that takes place in a bathroom stall that reminds me of this. I'm sure I couldn't get my leg up to kick a guy in the head in that tight of a space, though.
It is okay to walk away from the blog, you know.
The All-Blogger makes something like 30 posts over the weekend and then apologizes because, and I quote, "blogging has been rather light this weekend". As Pooh would say, Oh bother!